When Crisis Hits, How Do You Recover As Quickly As Possible?
Updated April 28th, 2020:
Practices around the country have faced temporary closings, reduced patient flow, not to mention a wide world of questions around essential care & telehealth options. One thing is for absolute certain though: this is having a profound impact on their business.
What can you do to survive the Coronavirus economy & ultimately protect your business?
Even more importantly, how can you develop a “Business continuity plan” so that even future emergencies won’t ruin what you’ve worked so hard to build?
The PT Owner’s Crisis & Recovery Guide:
First and Foremost… Don’t panic!
Be objective in your analysis and business decisions moving forward. The worst business decisions are made by fear and panic. In business, there are times when you will need to borrow from reserves, invest from capital, or borrow from credit, in order to operate.
It is ESSENTIAL that you fully understand the Business Recovery Curve strategy, which is used in planning for emergencies, by risk management departments worldwide.
NOW is the time to plan for your recovery, whether a crisis has started or you want to prepare for future security. Here is how to leverage this strategy in a PT Clinic:
The Business Recovery Curve:
This strategy focuses on the operational and financial recovery of a business from an emergency.
The concept is simple: those businesses which retract considerably their marketing efforts during an emergency, and do not plan for the fastest recovery possible, will experience SIGNIFICANTLY longer financial pain when the recovery happens.
Therefore, those businesses that do plan now, and invest in communication and marketing, will have a stronger and quicker recovery.
In the above graph, look at the difference between Clinic 1 with a recovery and marketing plan and Clinic 2 without.
How Do I Apply This In My Clinic?The key here is to make a plan that keeps your clinic running at as high a percentage as possible. If you can treat some patients, do it. If telehealth will help you do that, make sure that’s ready. And, it’s not just about treating! Keep communicating with your current and past patients. Plan what marketing you’ll need to send out when things return to normal. For a detailed way to use this in your clinic, check out this 15-minute video for practice owners: (updated to prepare for May 2020)
So that’s the Business Recovery Curve Strategy. Crisis may be unavoidable, but ensuring your practice returns to 100% as quickly as possible will reduce the financial stress in the long run and allow you to keep more employees from enduring their own hardships.
Here are the next steps I recommend taking:
What You Need To Do NOW:
- Teach your team the Business Recovery Curve.
- Continue to market your practice heavily, but alter your message to provide even greater value. Tips, and strategies to those in need during this crisis, especially your customer list. This will pay off greatly in the long run, with good public relations.
- Reduce operation costs as much as possible.
- Have contingency plans for starting back up in 2,4, and 6 weeks.
- Examine how to leverage financial reserves and lines of credit to continue to operate remotely and market your business.
- Work on your accounts receivable to assist with cash flow.
- Communicate with your staff the plan of action for recovery.
- Examine telehealth and other virtual treatment to determine if this is a viable option for your practice in the interim. Examine reimbursement vs. operating costs (equipment, staff, time, etc.).
Tips For Recovering Quickly:
- Have a preparedness plan ready to go.
- Keep marketing your practice now, especially to your customer list.
- Plan substantial marketing efforts to communicate heavily right before you plan to reopen.
- Outflow a tremendous amount of calls, emails, and texts to your current and past patients, local physicians, and other network opportunities.
- Work on a staff ramp-up plan to utilize key personnel first, then scale up the rest of the team.
- Provide cash incentives and pre-payment bulk visit plan discounts to incentivize cash payments for faster cash flow.
Outflow = Inflow
- In times of emergencies, an incredible amount of communication outflow is needed.
- The greater the outflow, the faster the recovery.
- The faster the recovery, the lesser the financial loss.
May 2020 Update: How Does This Impact My Practice Marketing Plan?Recovering from a crisis doesn’t actually require you to change your marketing strategy! Instead of panicking and hitting pause… you can use the SAME 5 steps of the Ultimate PT Marketing Funnel™… just use some different tactics within those 5 steps. Here are some ideas for each stage (specific to recovering from the 2020 coronavirus pandemic):
PAID SEARCH ADS
Most of your competition has STOPPED advertising. Even a small ads budget right now can drive lots of results!
SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT
Social engagement is at an all-time high right now. As lockdowns lift, keep creating helpful videos & tips so you can convert those fans you’re engaging into patients.
REVIEWS & TESTIMONIALS
You’ve gone to great lengths to treat patients in person or via telehealth… people need to hear their stories! Ask patients to record a 30-second video about how you helped them.
This is especially important if you started telehealth & plan to keep it up!
CONVERT YOUR SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT
If you’ve had an increase in video views & engagement on Facebook like most businesses have, use some budget to RETARGET those people with “We’re Open” or “Get Back To Living” ads as restrictions lift. Give people free help as long as needed and it will come back to you down the road!
UPDATE YOUR CHATBOT
Update your chatbot welcome with relatable language like “has quarantine been a pain?”
CALL DROPPED PATIENTS BACK
Plan to reengage people in a personal way as you reopen. Create easy, personal scripts for your staff now & focus on being personal, checking on how they are doing amidst this before talking about yourself.
DIRECT MAIL YOUR HOTTEST LISTS
Use postcards or other direct mail with relevant messages to ensure current patients, recently dropped patients, or your patient lists most likely to reactivate know you’re operating and can help them.
RECAP THE LAST 8 WEEKS IN YOUR NEWSLETTER
Your past patients are hearing a LOT of announcements right now. They’ve probably forgotten a lot as well.
Use your newsletter and other marketing to recap of the actions you’ve taken during this time, highlight patient wins & successes, and any charitable “good news” events that have occurred. Recapping will keep you on the top of peoples’ minds and give them talking points for conversations with their friends and family.
Do you have any rockstar patients who have been through multiple treatments, referred others, & pay their copays?
Make an effort to connect with these patients personally with VIP treatment. Check on their wellbeing and come up with a way to “suprise & delight” them with a gesture of goodwill. A gift card, free session if they mention needing pain relief, or even some practical supplies if that’s been hard on them during the quarantine.
This kind of action is hard to measure results from, but causes them to talk about you anytime coronavirus comes up and shed your practice in a positive light.
I sincerely hope this serves as a practice-saving resource for you. We’re all in this together and peoples’ health relies on your success. Please share this if you know another clinic who could use it, and let us know if you need help.
Best wishes to you & your staff!